Microsoft Alleges UK Retailer, Comet, Sold 94,000 Counterfeit Copies Of Windows

Microsoft has blasted Comet, a consumers electronics retailer in the UK, as selling 94,000 pirated copies of Windows Vista and XP recovery discs. Allegedly, Comet produced the copies of Windows in a factory located in Hampshire and included them with PCs that were sold in their stores. Comet has issued a response to these claims made by Microsoft.

According to Comet, they did indeed produce recovery discs for their customers and their own legal counsel supports that this act did not infringe on the intellectual property of Microsoft. Comet goes on to say that “it believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer,” and that they “acted in the very best interests of its customers.” Apparently they will defend themselves against Microsoft claims of infringement, and we are interested to see how this plays out. There are many companies in the United States that offer optional services to create recovery discs for consumers who purchase their PCs in retail stores and we can’t see how this can be much different. Nearly all PC manufacturers have done away with providing OEM recovery discs with PCs anymore. Apple on the other hand still appreciates its customers enough to include operating system and application install DVDs with new computers sold. We would like to know what Comet has done different from company A,B, or C in the United States in offering a recovery disc to consumers buying new PCs. Is the difference because the disc is pre-included as opposed to the customer having asked for it? We are not sure, but stay tuned for more news as inevitably unfolds.

[spoiler]READING, England, and REDMOND, Wash. – Jan. 4, 2012 – Microsoft Corp. today issued proceedings against Comet Group PLC for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs. The alleged counterfeits were sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

“As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom,” said David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. “Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products – and our customers deserve better, too.”

The suit charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers from its retail outlets across the U.K.

Comet is currently owned by French retail company Kesa Electricals PLC, although it is reportedly being purchased by private equity firm OpCapita LLP later this year.

With an emphasis on education, engineering and enforcement, Microsoft seeks to protect its customers from counterfeiting and piracy – and ensure people get what they pay for. If customers ever question the legitimacy of their software, be it a shrink-wrapped product or recovery media, they are advised to visit to learn more and, if they have any doubt, report the suspicious software to Microsoft.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.[/spoiler]

Comet Response
[spoiler]”We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers.

Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property.

Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer.

Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously.”[/spoiler]

Learn more the author of this post:

Solomon Massele
Solomon is our Senior Managing Editor here at TekGoblin and he is also a columnist for Best Buy Mobile Magazine. He has been a technology enthusiast for years and currently contributes to companies such as TekGoblin, Best Buy Mobile Magazine, and others in the past such as SPJ Reviews. You can keep up with his updates on Twitter at @iceman7679 and his visual tech related reviews on YouTube at He loves everything tech, and talking about it!